Twins slam Jays 13-7, maintain hold on wildcard slot

The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Gibson appeared headed for a short outing, and the Minnesota Twins’ playoff outlook looked as shaky as their starting pitcher.

Minnesota’s offense boosted both with a big rally.

Eddie Rosario homered twice, Joe Mauer hit a grand slam and the Twins overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 13-7 Sunday and maintain control for the second AL wild card.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning after Josh Donaldson’s second homer. Rosario and Byron Buxton hit consecutive homers to start the rally as the Twins burst ahead with a seven-run bottom half that included Jorge Polanco’s tiebreaking RBI grounder.

“You never feel like your offense is going to put up 13 runs,” Gibson said. “But that inning kind of had that kind of a feel. You can see early on when the guys have a lot of confidence. Rosie hits that homer and Buck hit that homer. They both walk by me and say, ‘Hey, we got you. Let’s go.’”

Minnesota pulled away with six runs in the fifth against reliever Chris Rowley. The Twins reopened a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card and closed within four games of the Yankees heading into a three-game series at New York that starts Monday.

Gibson (11-10) allowed five runs, three hits and five walks in six innings while tying a season high with eight strikeouts to help the Twins gain a four-game split.

Minnesota manager Paul Molitor nearly took out Gibson early.

“There was one pitch away a couple of times,” Molitor said. “It’s hard to explain a beginning like that. Of all the things he’s done, this one’s, in some ways, is maybe a little more impressive to give us six innings after that start.”

Joe Biagini (3-11) gave up six runs — four earned — and five hits in 1 1/3 innings for Toronto. He is 0-1 with a 15.00 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the Twins.

“I put them in a tough position for what they want to do,” Biagini said. “I don’t blame them for taking me out. I wish I would have gotten a chance to stay in, fight through it and limit the damage. But I understand what they’re thinking, so I don’t blame anybody.”

Rosario also homered in the fifth for his fourth career multihomer game and went deep five times during the homestand. Mauer hit his fourth slam, his first since Sept. 1, 2012, at Kansas City and his first ever at home.

Minnesota tied a franchise record by homering for the 16th consecutive game and has a major league-high 74 since Aug. 8.

Gibson walked four batters as the Blue Jays took a 4-0 lead in the first, and Donaldson homered again in the second. Gibson retired his final 13 batters he faced.


Donaldson had a go-ahead homer in the first, a drive into the third deck in left that would have traveled 481 feet, according to MLB Statcast. It tied for the seventh-longest home run tracked by Statcast this season.

Donaldson reached 30 homers for the third straight season after hitting 29 in 2014. He has an AL-high 21 home runs since the AL break, including consecutive multihomer games.


Gibson received double-digit run support for the third time in four starts. He pitched six scoreless innings in a 17-0 win against Kansas City on Sept. 2 and another six scoreless in a 16-0 win in his last outing against San Diego.

“Maybe he knew subconsciously that the double-digit run support was going to come along somewhere along the way,” Molitor joked. “We just kept firing.”


Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (15-7, 3.35) starts for the Twins. New York goes with LHP Jaime Garcia (5-9, 4.35), who started one game for Minnesota this season after he was acquired from Atlanta and then was dealt to New York



DENVER — Rockies closer Greg Holland dropped the ball trying to tag Matt Szczur at home on Austin Hedge’s squeeze bunt in the ninth inning, allowing San Diego to finish its rally and beat Colorado.

Hedges bunted back to Holland (3-6) with runners at the corners and one out, but after making a nice play to scoop up the ball, Holland lost control trying to tag a sliding Szczur.

Colorado’s bullpen blew its first save in three weeks and let the Rockies’ lead for the second NL wild card shrink to 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee. The Brewers beat Miami on Sunday, and St. Louis, which lost to the Chicago Cubs, stayed 4 1/2 back.

Kirby Yates (4-5) pitched the eighth, and Brad Hand got the last three outs for his 18th save.



HOUSTON — Justin Verlander struck out 10 over seven innings in his first home start for Houston, Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez homered in a big fifth inning and the Astros clinched the American League West with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday for their first division title since 2001.

George Springer and Carlos Correa also homered for the Astros, who won their first division title since 2001 and seventh overall. The Astros become the first team in major league history to win titles in three divisions after previously winning the NL West and NL Central.

Verlander (13-8) retired his first seven batters before Ben Gamel homered into the right-center bullpen in the third. He allowed just two singles after that to improve to 3-0 since he was acquired from Detroit on Aug. 31.

Andrew Moore (1-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.